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Gamoran, Mamie Goldsmith


GAMORAN, MAMIE GOLDSMITH (1900–1984), U.S. writer. Born in Jersey City, n.j. to Nathan and Mamie Aronson Goldsmith, Gamoran was a prolific author of Jewish children's textbooks and fiction. Raised in a non-observant home, she received no formal Jewish education as a child. Her interest in Judaism was stimulated by her involvement in a Jewish girls club, the Bronx chapter of the Association of Jewish High School Girls (which later merged with a parallel boys club and became the League of Jewish Youth). The club was created by Dr. Samson *Benderly, director of the New York Bureau of Jewish Education and a revolutionary force in Jewish education in the early 20th century. Her exposure to Benderly's educational approach was intensified when she came to work at the Bureau as Benderly's personal secretary. There she also became acquainted with the so-called "Benderly Boys," the group Benderly was grooming for leadership positions in Jewish education. These included her future husband, Emanuel Gamoran. Mamie also studied at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and was a member of the first graduating class of the Israel Friedlaender extension school (1922).

After their marriage in 1922 the Gamarons moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where Emanuel became education director of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the lay arm of the Reform movement. There, Mamie taught in area supplementary schools and served for two years as principal of the Conservative affiliated Adath Israel religious school. A central facet of her husband's work included commissioning and editing religious school textbooks. Always in need of writers, he encouraged Mamie's literary aspirations. Among her best-known books was Hillel's Happy Holidays (1939), one of the earliest Jewish holiday primers for young children, and a three-volume Jewish history series for junior high school students, The New Jewish History (1953–57).

Gamoran co-edited her husband's biography following his death, Emanuel Gamoran: His Life and His Work (1979), and wrote a memoir, A Family History (1985), published by her son, Rabbi Nathaniel Hillel Gamoran, after her death.


M. Lehman, "Gamoran, Mamie," in: P.E. Hyman and D.D. Moore (eds.), Jewish Women in America, vol. 1 (1997), 495–96.

[Jonathan Krasner (2nd ed.)]

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